Places to See in Algarve !
Wherever you look, the colours of the mountains and sea are always with you, creating the impression of a water-colour dotted with highlights of gold, green and blue. The region is an extensive and pleasant one, with a Mediterranean climate, marked by the smell of the sea at low tide and the scent of wild flowers. Book with us and discover it all-
Albufeira – Drive with us – ALBUFEIRA CAR HIRE
Albufeira is a Portuguese city and a municipality in the district of Faro, Algarve(الغرب) region. Its name came from the Arabic: البحيرة (al-Buħayra = "the lagoon"). The city proper has a population of 13,646. The municipality has a population of 35,281 inhabitants and a total area of 140.6 km². The population expands to an estimated 300,000 in the summer and New Year's as Albufeira is one of the leading tourist resorts of the region. Facilities include a marina, golf courses plus innumerable hotels, apartment blocks, restaurants and bars for the annual flood of visitors. Tourism and commerce are the main activities in Albufeira. Most tourists arrive via the nearby Faro Airport, a 40-minute drive away. After sunset, the centre of Albufeira comes alive with bars, restaurants, and shops to suit most tastes, from authentic Portuguese-fare to Irish pubs. The architecture of the town ranges from typically Algarvian narrow streets with pale white and sometimes tiled houses to very modern tourist developments. The apartments near the newly built Marina e Bryn are a unique splash of pinks, blues, and yellows, dubbed "Legoland" by the local inhabitants. A local culinary speciality is Cataplana (steamed shellfish), a very well known dish from the Algarve region. Caldeirada (fish stew), and the simpler but also popular grilled sardines are also very appreciated and are traditional dishes across the entire country, especially in litoral areas. The nightlife on "The Strip", located near the Montechoro section of Albufeira, proves especially popular during the summer with all ages, especially the younger tourists. Going down "The Strip", the most popular bars include Erin's Isle, Matt's Bar, Linekers, Café del Mar, Mustang, BJ's, Garage, Reno's, La Bamba, and Wild & Co. There is also an extremely popular nightclub, Kiss. Kadoc, located around seven miles away between Albufeira and Vilamoura near the town of Boliqueime. Several regular tournaments are played in the Algarve, notably the Algarve Cup. Also, many British teams spend the summer in Albufeira for pre-season training as well as friendly games. In recent years, both Sunderland and Ipswich Town have played games in various venues in the area. In October 2009, Sassco.co.uk amateur Sunderland-based football team will be undertaking a three match tour in Albufeira. The games are due to be played against local teams FC Ferreiras and Juventude Sport Campinense at their venues of Estádio da Nora and Destination Football, respectively.
Alcoutim – Drive with us – ALCOUTIM CAR HIRE
Alcoutim is a town and a municipality in southeastern Portugal near the border with Spain. The municipality has a total area of 575.32 km² and a population of 3,411 inhabitants. At the Portuguese census of 2001 it had a population of 3,770 inhabitants and was the least densely populated municipality in Portugal. The municipality is limited on the north by the municipality of Mértola, on the east by the province of Huelva in Spain, on the southeast by Castro Marim, on the southwest by Tavira and on the west by Loulé and Almodôvar. The administrative center is the town of Alcoutim, located at the extreme eastern part of the municipality on the Spanish frontier, just across the Guadiana River from the Spanish town of Sanlúcar de Guadiana in the province of Huelva. There is a Moorish castle, the (Castelo de Alcoutim), dating from the 14th century in the town.
The municipality is composed of 5 parishes, and is located in the northeast corner of the district of Faro. The municipal holiday is June 13.
Aljezur – Drive with us – ALJEZUR CAR HIRE
Aljezur is a municipality in Portugal with a total area of 323.5 km2 and a total population of 5,322 inhabitants. The word is derived from the Arabic word "Aljuzur" (الجزر), the plural of island.The municipality is composed of 4 parishes, and is located in the District of Faro. The municipal holiday is August 29.
Castro Marim – Drive with us – CASTRO MARIM CAR HIRE
Castro Marim is a town and a municipality in the southern region of Algarve, in Portugal. The municipality is composed of 4 parishes.The municipal holiday is June 24.
In the Roman era, Castro Marim was known as Aesuris
Faro – Drive with us – FARO CAR HIRE
Faro is a city in the Faro Municipality in southern Portugal. The city proper has 41,934 inhabitants and the entire municipality has 58,305. It is the seat of the district of Faro and capital of the Algarve region. The Algarve and Faro district cover the same territory. The Ria Formosa lagoon attracted human occupants from the Palaeolithic age until the end of pre-history. During that time a settlement grew up – Ossonoba – which was an important town during the period of Roman occupation and, according to historians, the forerunner of present-day Faro. From the 3rd century onwards and during the Visigothic period it was the site of an Episcopal see. With the advent of Moorish rule in the 8th century Ossonoba retained its status as the most important town in the southwest corner of the Iberian Peninsula. In the 9th century it became the capital of a short-lived princedom and was fortified with a ring of defensive walls. At this time the name Santa Maria began to be used instead of Ossonoba. Later on the town was known as Harun (from a local Muslim chieftain), whence its current name, Faro. During the 500 years of Moorish rule there were some Jewish inhabitants in Faro who wrote copies of the Old Testament. One of Faro's historical names in Arabic is أخشونبة. The Moors were defeated by the forces of the Portuguese King Afonso III in 1249. With the decline of the importance of the city of Silves, Faro took over the role of administration of the Algarve area. Lagos had become the capital of the historical province of Algarve in 1577 and remained so until 1756, the year following the destruction of much of the town by the 1755 Lisbon earthquake. The earthquake damaged several areas in the Algarve, where a tsunami dismantled some coastal fortresses and, in the lower levels, razed houses. Almost all the coastal towns and villages of the Algarve were heavily damaged, except Faro, which was protected by the sandy banks of Ria Formosa lagoon. Since then Faro has been the administrative seat of the region.
Faro has a Mediterranean-Subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Csa). Summers are warm to hot and sunny with average daytime temperatures of 27–29°C (81–84°F). The weather in the autumn and winter months is generally mild with temperatures around 8–17°C (46–63°F). Faro gets most of its rainfall over the winter months; rain is very rare between June and September. The annual average temperature is 18°C (64°F) and the annual rainfall is around 500mm. The average sea surface temperature is 15–16°C (59–61°F) in January rising to 22–23°C (72–73°F) in August.
Faro is located next to the Ria Formosa lagoon, a nature reserve of over 170 square kilometres and a stopping place for hundreds of different species of birds during the spring and autumn migratory periods. The beach is roughly seven kilometres from the city, and consists of a long sandy spit reached through a bridge.
Lagoa – Drive with us – LAGOA CAR HIRE
Lagoa is a Portuguese city in Faro District, in the region known as the Algarve, with about 6,100 inhabitants.It is the seat of a local municipal unit (concelho) of the same name, 88.50km² in area, with 23,835 inhabitants, divided into 6 civil parishes (freguesias). It is bounded on the north and east by Silves Municipality, on the west by Portimão Municipality, and on the south by the Atlantic Ocean. The city (then town) was officially incorporated on 16 January 1773. The municipal holiday is September 8; its patron saint is Our Lady of Light. The location adjective for the city is Lagoense.
According to historical sources, the earliest settlement of Lagoa was on the edges of a small lake or marsh [Portuguese: lagoa], which was drained in order to create fertile land and habitations which in turn were later occupied by the Muslims. The natural resources of the area have contributed greatly to the current economic structure of the municipality based on agriculture (especially fruit and wine production), fishing, light industry, and tourism. The fishing industry (of the communities of Ferragudo, Benagil, Carvoeiro and Senhora da Rocha), vineyards, and the traditional products of unirrigated agriculture were the principal sources of wealth of the area up to the 1970s. Driven by the abundance of fish, the canning industry at the beginning of the last century broke open the local economy, bringing with it general prosperity and wealth.
From the 1960s, however, tourism has been the principal driver of the area’s development and the creation of the infrastructure necessary for the growth of the economic fabric. The most important outcome has been the high level of job creation over the last few decades. This activity has rapidly became the economic motor of the municipality, and has now assumed a permanent place in the local economy. Parallel to the growth of tourism has been the growth of all the related activities, especially in the construction industry, services, and general commerce.
Lagos – Drive with us – LAGOS CAR HIRE
Lagos is a city and a municipality at the mouth of the river Bensafrim and along the Atlantic Ocean,in the region of Algarve, in Algarve's Barlavento (windward), Southern Portugal. The municipality has a total population of 27,041 inhabitants. The city itself has a population of approximately 18,000. It is a historic (Portuguese Discoveries) and touristic city (beaches).The majority of the population lives along the coastal line and works in tourism and services. The inland region in sparsely inhabited, with the majority of the people working in agriculture and forestry. Lagos is located approximately 35 kilometers east of Sagres Point. To the north of Lagos is the road to Silves, the first capital of Algarve, which has a Moorish castle,Monchique(spa town/mountain), Milfontes, a coastal town and port/harbour of the city of Sines, that winds through the scenic protected landscape of the Southwest Natural Park (Costa Sudoeste Alentejana e Vicentina). Lagos is an ancient maritime town with more than 2,000 years of history. The name Lagos has a Celtic origin and is derived from the word Lacobriga. Lagos first became a settlement of the Carthaginians, who recruited Celtic tribesmen in their war against the Romans (the Punic Wars). Later it became colonized by the Romans, becoming part of the Roman province Lusitania. Some Roman remains can still be found in Lagos and the surrounding countryside. Quintus Sertorius, a Roman rebellious general, helped by the Lusitanians of Lacobriga, fought successfully a battle against the Roman army of Q. Caecilius Metellus Pius probably at nearby Monte Molião. Lacobriga was already in those times an important harbour. The town was occupied in the sixth century by the Visigoths from the Kingdom of Toledo and later by the Byzantines. The Moors came in the eighth century. The renamed the town Zawaia (meaning Lago = lake). It was part of the coastal region al-Gharb (hence the name Algarve). The Moors fortified the town and established important trade links. In 1174 the local Wāli gave permission for the construction of a church of St. John the Baptist outside the town walls. This is the oldest church in the Algarve.
Even as King Afonso Henriques was reconquering Portugal (the Reconquista), the southern part (Algarve and Alentejo) remained under Moorish domination. It was captured by King Afonso III of Portugal in 1241. After the complete capture of Algarve in 1249 the king gave himself the title "King of Portugal and the Algarve", stressing the fact that the Algarve, after the long rule by the Moors, was considered a foreign country and not part of Portugal.Lagos became an independent jurisdiction under the rule of King Pedro I in 1361. King João I assembled his fleet in the harbour of Lagos, before setting sail for the siege and conquest of the city of Ceuta in 1415. This was the first step in opening the Arabian world to medieval Europe, which in fact led to the Age of Discovery with Portuguese explorers sailing across the whole world.
The old Portuguese town was a very beautiful city with many monuments until it was destroyed by the earthquake and tsunami of 1755. But it still preserves some rebuilt walls from the 16th century, a governor's castle from the 17th, and the site of what is believed to have been the first black slave market in Europe (the Mercado de Escravos, opened in 1444).
Lagos' economy, like many coastal towns in Portugal, has always been closely linked to the sea, and fishing has been an important activity since very ancient times. Since 1960, the city has embraced tourism, which has become its most important economic activity. It has beautiful beaches, good climate, the sea, a scenic coastline, and historical patrimony. It also has plenty of cultural and night-life entertainment venues. Many local traditions are celebrated, ranging from architecture to gastronomy and handicrafts.
In gastronomy, there are the local specialties: Dom rodrigos and morgados cookies based on local products, such as almonds, figs and eggs. Lagos is also a wine producing region and is famous for its moscatel wine, and also for a strong alcoholic spirit, the aguardente de medronho, made of berries of strawberry tree.
Lagos has many natural interest sites, including:
Ponta da Piedade (Mercy Point)
Grutas da Costa d'Oiro (Golden Coast grottos)
Laguna de Alvor (Alvor Lagoon)
Mata Nacional de Barão de S.João (National forest of Saint John's Baron)
Not to be missed in Lagos:
- Igreja de Santo António
Its plain façade with the dissimilar bell towers, dating from 1715, contrasts sharply with the extravaganza of the beautiful and richly decorated interior. Its blue-and-white azulejos (18th century) and gilded, intricate wooden carvings (talha dourada) (among the most beautiful in the country) fill every inch of the walls of the nave, together with the six Baroque paintings by Mestre José Joaquim Rasquinho, representing the miracles of St. Anthony. The wooden vault was painted with a trompe-l'oeil effect, leading one to believe it is much higher. The polychrome statues of cherubs playing with animals and fishes are a delight to the eye.This church of St. Anthony of Lisbon was one of the few building to survive quasi-intact the Great Earthquake of 1755. There was some reconstruction by the commander of Lagos Infantry Regiment. That is probably why the polychrome statue of St. Anthony on the altar wears a military sash. It was also in this church that King Sebastião reputedly attended his last mass before his ill-fated expedition to Morocco.
- Museu Regional
This modest regional museum is located next to the church of St. Anthony. It houses an eclectic collection of archaeological finds from the prehistory (ammonites, dinosaur teeth...) and the Neolithic (axeheads, pottery shards...). The mishmash continues with an assembly of minerals, Roman mosaics and Moorish oillamps and pottery. The ethnographic section deals with scenes from the past in the Algarve and, interestingly, very old weapons and artifacts from Mozambique. There is also an assorted display of old European weapons such as swords, muskets and cannonballs. One can also see the charter by which King Manuel conferred some priovileges to Lagos. Probably the most valuable items are the sacerdotal vestments worn during the last Holly Mass attended by King Sebastião, before leaving on his ill-fated conquest of Morocco. There is also a diptych dating from the 16th century with scenes from the Annunciation and Presentation of Jesus at the Temple.
- Forte da Ponte da Bandeira
This fort, also known in Portuguese as the Forte do Pau da Bandeira, the Forte de Nossa Senhora da Penha de França and the Forte do Registo, is on the waterfront near the entrance to the harbour. The stone inscription over the main door indicates that it was originally dedicated to Santa Virgem Senhora da Penha de França -- whence one of its names; "Ponta da Bandeira" (or "Pau da Bandeira") are names of the area of Lagos where it actually stands. When Portugal came under Spanish rule, the Portuguese coast became a target for the British fleet. Lagos, close to the Spanish naval base of Cadiz, was attacked by Sir Francis Drake in the late 1580s. But the inhabitants put up such a good defence that he had to abort his attack on Lagos and instead sacked the nearby fort of Sagres. Furthermore the coast was under regular attack of pirates and corsairs. As well Spanish naval attacks occurred during the Portuguese Restoration War (1640-1668). This led to the construction of a string of forts all along the coast. One of them was this late 17th century fort in Lagos, built between 1679 and 1690 (according to the stone inscription over the main door). This squat rectangular fort guards the entrance to the harbour. One enters the fort via a small drawbridge. The terrace offers a splendid view on the town, the beach and the harbour. The small chapel is decorated with 17th century azulejos (tiles). Up until the late 20th century, the fort was used as a service depot for the military base in Lagos, although it also housed other services linked to maritime activities, such as supplies for lifeboats and for sports activities (e.g., sailing) for young people. It was restored between 1958 and 1960, and officially acquired by the municipality of Lagos in 1983. Several rooms have been converted into exhibition displays of the voyages of discovery with astrolabes and models of caravels.
Loulé – Drive with us – LOULÉ CAR HIRE
Loulé is a city and a municipality in Portugal with a total area of 764.2 km2 and a total population of 62,295 inhabitants. The city proper has a population of 12,103. The municipality is composed of 11 parishes, and is located in the District of Faro. The municipal holiday is Ascension Day.
Monchique – Drive with us – MONCHIQUE CAR HIRE
Monchique is a municipality of southern Portugal, in the district of Faro (formerly the province of Algarve). It is located 13 miles south of Saboia station on the Lisbon-Faro railway. Monchique is one of the main Portuguese health-resorts, finely situated among the wooded heights of the Serra de Monchique, which rise on the west to 2963 ft. There are hot sulfur springs, with baths and a sanatorium 4 m. south in 'Caldas de Monchique' (Spring of Monchique). Wheat, millet, rye, beans, oranges, wine, olive oil and chestnuts are the chief products. There is a woolen factory and medronho, a local brew made from distilled medronho berries (Arbutus/Strawberry Tree), is produced. Originally created in back room stills, medronho is now a commercial product chiefly in Silves and Monchique.
Olhão – Drive with us – OLHÃO CAR HIRE
Olhão, or Olhão da Restauração, is a city and a municipality in the Algarve region, in southern portugal. It is located near Faro, which is the district's capital and the capital of the Algarve. It is mostly a fishing port city ("Bela" (sardinhas) [sardines] are canned in Olhão). Faro, Olhão, Loulé, and Tavira form an urban conurbation around the city of Faro, in Sotavento, in eastern and central Algarve. The municipality of Olhão has a total area of 130.9km² and 42,272 inhabitants. The city itself has a population of approximately 31,100. Olhão includes a mainland part and the Armona island. It borders the municipality of Tavira in the north and the east, by the municipality of Faro in the west, the municipality of São Brás de Alportel in the northeast, and the Atlantic Ocean in the south.
Portimão – Drive with us – PORTIMÃO CAR HIRE
Portimão is a city located in the District of Faro in the Region of Algarve on the southern coast of Portugal. It was formerly known as Vila Nova de Portimão ([ˈvilɐ ˈnɔvɐ dɨ puɾtiˈmɐ̃w̃]). In 1924 it was incorporated as a city and became known as Portimão. The city has 45,000 inhabitants and the Portimão Municipality 52,000 (as of 2006;INE). The two most populous cities in the Algarve are Portimão and Faro. Portimão is also a city with great sporting events. It is here, that in the summer, the Mundialito de Futebol de Praia of Beach Football. Even the Rally Lisbon-Dakar goes through this city, where you can also see Surf and Kitesurf. In the hills near Portimão the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve has been built (it was finished in October 2008), a race and test circuit officially recognised for the highest categories both for cars and motorcycles. Superbike and A1 Grand Prix races and F1 tests are scheduled. Every year in Portimão is held a grand prix of Rhythmic Gymnastics with and Individual All Around competition, a Team All Around competition, final by apparatuses and final by group in senior and junior levels.
São Brás de Alportel - Drive with us – SÃO BRÁS DE ALPORTEL CAR HIRE
São Brás de Alportel is a municipality in Portugal with a total area of 153.4 km2 and a total population of 11,205 inhabitants.The municipality is composed of 1 parish, and is located in the District of Faro. The municipal holiday is June 1.
Silves – Drive with us – SILVES CAR HIRE
Silves is a town and a municipality in the Algarve, southern Portugal. The city has a population of 10,800 inhabitants and the municipality reaches 33,830 (2001). The municipality of Silves is part of the district of Faro. Silves is the former capital of the Algarve and is of great historical importance. The municipality is crossed by the Arade River, which was navigable in historical times and was key to the prosperity of the city of Silves. The waters of the river form the dams of Arade and Funcho. The landscape of the municipality is generally hilly. To the south the municipality borders the Atlantic Ocean. The region of Silves has been inhabited since the Palaeolithic, as attested by archaeological vestiges, including several menhirs. The river Arade, which was navigable in historical times, linked the hinterland to the open ocean and allowed for the transport of produce and commerce. The town of Silves was possibly founded during the times of Roman domination, when the region was part of the Lusitania province. After 713, when the Moors invaded Iberia, Silves became part of the Ummayad kingdom of Córdoba under the Arabic name of Shilb (شلب). In the 10th century it was one of the most important towns of western Al-Andalus. Silves became an independent taifa in 1027 under the rule of Ibn Mozaine and his son, who was dethroned in 1051 by al-Mu'tadid, the governor of Seville. al-Mu'tamid ibn 'Abbad, the son of al-Mu'tadid and a famous poet, ruled the taifa of Silves until 1091. After the Almoravid conquest the town became Almohad in 1156. In 1189 King Sancho I of Portugal conquered the town with the aid of Northern European crusaders, but lost it again to the Almohads. Periodic raiding expeditions were sent from Al-Andalus to ravage the Iberian Christian kingdoms, bringing back booty and slaves. The governor of Córdoba attacked Silves in 1191, and took 3,000 Christian slaves. Again under Muslim rule, the city was then prosper to the point of being called the Baghdad of the West. The town was finally taken from the last Muslim king Ibn Afan by Paio Peres Correia, Grand-Master of the Order of Santiago in 1242, after the Alentejo and most of the coast had already fallen in 1238. The great mosque was changed into Silves Cathedral (Sé Catedral). In 1491 the town was given to queen Leonora by King João. Parts of the Almohad town wall, constructed from poured concrete, have been preserved, as well as the Almedina-gate (Porta de Loulé). Other sights include the Santa Misericórdia Church with a fine door in Manueline style, the main body of the church was built in 1727/28, a museum for cork and the production of bottle corks in a defunct factory which is now also a centre for cultural events called "Fábrica do Inglês (The Englishman's Factory) and the municipal museum (Museu Municipal de Arqueologia) with findings from the palaeolithic onwards. The town is situated on a hill above the Arade River. Silves Castle (Castelo dos Mouros, Moorish Castle) is located on the top of the hill. It occupies ca. 12,000 m2. Archaeological excavations have shown that the oldest buildings date back to the 8th century, the stratigraphy is almost 6 m deep and contains Iron Age remains as well. The walls are made of red sandstone (grés de Silves) with a pisé-core and have been heavily restored in the 1940s. Protruding towers of albarra-type protect the Northern slope. After the Christian conquest, the castle served as the seat of the alcaide-mor (provincial governor) till the middle of the 16th century, afterwards the towers were used as a prison. Silves is built on top of one of the largest underground aquifers in the south of Portugal, The Querença-Silves Aquifer , and has many orange groves, a fruit introduced by the Moors.
Tavira – Drive with us – TAVIRA CAR HIRE
Tavira is a Portuguese city, situated at 37°07' north, 7°39' west in the east of the Algarve on the south coast of Portugal. It is 30km east of Faro and 160km west of Seville in Spain. The River Gilão meets the Atlantic Ocean in Tavira. Tavira's origins date back to the late Bronze Age (1.000-800 BC). In the 8th century BC it became one of the first Phoenician settlements in the Iberian West. The Phoenicians created a colonial urban center here with massive walls, at least two temples, two harbours and a regular urban structure. Phoenician Tavira existed until the end of 6th Century BC, when it was destroyed by conflict. It is thought its original name was Baal Saphon, named after the Phoenician Thunder and Sea god. This name later became Balsa. After a century of being abandoned, the settlement recovered, during the urban bloom that characterised the so called Tartessian Period, and became bigger than ever. This second urban center, Tartessian Tavira, was also abandoned by the end of the 4th Century BC. The main centre then moved to nearby Cerro do Cavaco, a fortified hill occupied until the time of Emperor Augustus. Under Roman rule, Tavira was a secondary passing place on the important road between Balsa and Baesuris (today Castro Marim). The Moorish occupation of Tavira between the 8th and 13th centuries left its mark on the agriculture, architecture and culture of the area. That influence can still be seen in Tavira today with its whitewashed buildings, Moorish style doors and rooftops. A castle, two mosques and palaces were built by the Moors. The impressive seven arched "Roman bridge" is now not considered to be Roman after a recent archaeological survey, but originates from a 12th Century Moorish bridge. This was a good time economically for Tavira, which established itself an important port for sailors and fishermen. The area stayed rural until the 11th Century when Moorish Tavira (from the Arabic Tabira, "the hidden") started to grow rapidly, becoming one of the important (and independent) towns of the Algarve, then the South-Western extreme of Gharb al-Andalus (the West of Islamic Iberian territories). In the 17th Century the port on its river was of considerable importance, shipping produce such as salt, dried fish and wine. Like most of the Algarve its buildings were virtually all destroyed by the earthquake of 1755. This earthquake is thought to have reached a magnitude of 9 on the Richter scale and caused extensive damage throughout the Algarve due to shockwaves and tsunamis. The earthquake is referred to as the Lisbon Earthquake due to its terrible effects on the capital city, although the epicentre was some 200km west-southwest of Cape St. Vincent in the Algarve. The city has since been rebuilt with many fine 18th Century buildings along with its 37 churches. A 'Roman' (actually Moorish) bridge links the two parts of the town across the River Gilão. The church of Santa Maria do Castelo, built on the site of a Moorish mosque holds the tombs of D Paio Peres Correia and his knights. The church dates from the 13th century and the clock tower has been remodeled from the original Muslim minaret. A bust of Dom Paio Perres Correia who died in 1275 can be seen on the corner of the town hall. Its original economic reliance on the fishing industry has now passed due to changed migration patterns of Tuna and further silting up of the river Gilao. The population is in the region of 25,000 inhabitants(municipality of Tavira) supporting a military base whilst the surrounding area is still fairly rural and undeveloped. This is now changing due to the demands of the tourist industry and opening of golf courses in the near vicinity. The beach for this town lies past the salt pans and is reached by a ferryboat that takes the visitor to the sand-bar island known as Ilha de Tavira, part of the Ria Formosa. The island and beaches can also be reached from the nearby footbridge in Santa Luzia. In recent years the architecturally attractive town has attracted visitors and house prices have increased sharply. The development of many golf clubs close to the town has also had an effect.
Vila do Bispo – Drive with us – VILA DO BISPO CAR HIRE
Vila do Bispo is a municipality in Portugal with a total area of 179.0 km² and a total population of 5,381 inhabitants. The municipality is composed of 5 parishes, and is located in the District of Faro. To its North there is the municipality of Aljezur, to its Northeast Lagos and to its South and West the Atlantic Ocean. The municipal holiday is January 21. The main square in Vila do Bispo itself has been renamed Praça de Tanegashima in recognition of the twinning of Vila do Bispo with Nishinoomote on the island of Tanegashima. It was a Portuguese, Fernão Mendes Pinto who claimed to be the first European to set foot on Japan and who did so on Tanegashima in 1543. Close to the municipality of Lagos, starting from the small town of Burgau it belongs to a protected area that covers most of Barlavento Algarvio (the westernmost part of Algarve), so it's beaches are famous by their perceived beauty and natural aspect preserved. This area of Algarve is now a place where tourism is the most important source of profits. The most frequent tourists are older people (65 years - or more) who are retired and want to live their last years in this zone, by building new houses themselves, or buying houses in large condominium like Parque da Floresta and Alma Verde.
Vila Real de Santo António – Drive with us – VILA REAL STO ANTONIO CAR HIRE
Vila Real de Santo António is a city, civil parish, and municipality in the Algarve, Portugal. It is one of only three municipalities in Portugal without territorial continuity (the others being Oliveira de Frades and Montijo): its territory comprehends two parts, with the municipal seat located in the eastern part. Both the city and the municipality are the southeasternmost of Portugal. Vila Real de Santo António was founded after the 1755 Lisbon earthquake, and largely expanded in 1774 using the same architectural and construction techniques employed in the reconstruction of Lisbon after the disaster.The city is situated next to the Guadiana river. Before the construction of the Guadiana International Bridge (in its neighboring upstream municipality of Castro Marim) it used to be the easiest access to Portugal from Andalusia (via ferry from the Spanish city of Ayamonte across the river). Nevertheless, international movement of people and goods is still intense and much visible in the city. The city of Vila Real de Santo António is situated at 37°12′ north 7°25′ west, making it and its surroundings the southeasternmost tip of Portugal. The city lies on one side of the mouth of the Guadiana river, at the point where it flows into the Atlantic Ocean. Spain lies on the opposite side of the river, and from there are directly facing Vila Real de Santo António the city of Ayamonte and its adjacent Isla Canela. The climate of the region is Mediterranean. Winters are short and mild, while summers are usually very hot. November and December are the rainiest months. On average, the municipality has around 300 sunny days a year.
Vila Real de Santo António has a relatively recent history. The region was sparsely populated prior to its foundation. For centuries, Castro Marim was the only town protecting the area from neighboring hostile Spain. But on December 30, 1773, during the reign of Joseph I, a royal decree was signed demanding the creation of a new town in the tip of the Algarve. The exact motives behind this decision are unclear, but they may include the following: to increase human presence near the Spanish border to help prevent any unauthorized incursions; to better control duty charged on cross-border transactions; to be better prepared to defend from a full scale attack; to provoke Spain with a state-of-the-art town easily seen from Ayamonte; or to simply rebuild the nearby town of Santo António de Arenilha and resettle its population. Santo António de Arenilha was a medieval piscatory town that was destroyed by the sea, possibly by a tsunami triggered by the devastating 1755 Lisbon earthquake. Yet the new town inherited part of its predecessor's name ("Vila Real de Santo António" means "Royal Town of Santo António").
Vila Real de Santo António was erected at great speed, in only two years time (construction took place between 1774 and 1776). The Marquis of Pombal was responsible for its planning. He designed the town in a Pombaline orthogonal grid, much like the one he did to rebuild Lisbon's downtown, which had also been destroyed by the earthquake. In a pioneering technique, entire buildings were prefabricated in pieces outside the city, and then transported to their final destination to be assembled. This procedure permitted a fast and methodical construction of the town. It soon became the seat of the municipality, stripping the once important town of Cacela from this status. Cacela had been steadily declining due to the effects of the earthquake and also English pirate attacks. Vila Real de Santo António started to thrive by the end of the 19th century thanks to the growth of the fish industry and concentration of fish-processing plants in the city. Tuna and sardine were particularly important to the city's economy. In 1886, it became the first city in the Algarve to have gas lighting installed. The fish industry came to a decline in the 1960s and tourism quickly took over as the principal income generator. Its extensive stretch of sandy beaches attracts both national and international tourists, especially during the warm season. Monte Gordo is particularly visitor-oriented, counting with many hotels, bars and a casino. The municipality has a rich fauna and flora. Chameleons, oysters, and jellyfish (of the genus Rhopilema) are among the species that can be found in the region and its coastal waters. Carob trees, gum rockrose, brooms and almond trees are examples of flora present in the area. The establishment in 1975 of the Castro Marim and Vila Real de Santo António Marsh Natural Reserve provided a refuge for several species of birds, namely mallards, flamingos, Kentish plovers, little terns, pied avocets, dunlins, stilts, white storks, and spoonbills. Some species of fish and crustaceans breed in the reserve.
Visit - Civil parish of Monte Gordo – MONTE GORDO CAR HIRE
This civil parish contains the seaside town and tourist resort of Monte Gordo, which is located less than three kilometers from the city of Vila Real de Santo António. The two are separated by a large section of woodland.
Visit - Civil parish of Vila Nova de Cacela – VILA NOVA CACELA CAR HIRE
This civil parish is separated from the remaining two civil parishes of the municipality of Vila Real de Santo António by the parishes of Altura and Castro Marim (both comprising the municipality of Castro Marim), effectively splitting in two parts the municipality of Vila Real de Santo António. Yet its area is much larger than the other two civil parishes combined. Vila Nova de Cacela is an extremely rare example of an exclave among Portugal's units of administrative division. The town of Vila Nova de Cacela was formed in 1927 when the seat of the civil parish was transferred from Cacela Velha (then known as simply "Cacela") to a new urban agglomeration formed by the villages of Bornacha, Buraco and Coutada. The town and popular seaside resort of Manta Rota is located in this civil parish, next to Cacela Island (which is actually a peninsula).